"May I," Alex asked. The deli he had stopped into to have lunch at before returning to the office on this Monday afternoon was filled with people and it looked as if the only open chair was at the table occupied by a woman who was immersed in the magazine she was reading.

"Huh . . ." Caitlin said as she looked up in surprise at the tall, blonde man who was looking down at her.

"May I sit here?" Alex asked gesturing toward the empty chair at her table.

"Oh, um . . ." She glanced around the room and saw it was standing room only. "Sure, have a seat."

"Are you sure?" he asked as he pulled the chair out.

"You just want a place to sit, right?"

"Yeah," Alex told her. "This place is jammed and I'd like to sit and eat lunch before going back to work."

"Well, go ahead," Caitlin said glancing at him once again before returning to her magazine.

Alex sat down and took out his phone to catch up on some e-mails, but he kept finding himself shooting covert glances over at his tablemate. She was classically beautiful with long hair that fell in waves over her shoulders. She had perfect, porcelain skin and the greenest eyes he had ever seen that were framed with long, dark lashes.

"Interesting reading?" he asked trying to draw her into a conversation.

Caitlin looked up and studied Alex for a moment. "Yes," she said simply before returning to the article she was reading.

"And what are you reading?" She was making this more difficult than he had anticipated.

Caitlin looked up once again and lifted the magazine, showing him the cover.

"Oh, Cosmopolitan," he said with a smile. "I should have known you'd be a Cosmo girl."

Caitlin just blinked. "I'm not really sure what you mean by that."

"I'm not really sure what I mean either," he said. "It just kind of popped out."

"Oh, well, I just figured it was a cheesy pick up line," she said, a teasing lilt entering her voice. "If it was, it kind of sucked."

"No, not a pick up line," he said. "I don't use pick up lines."

"Good to know," Caitlin said before going back to the magazine.

Alex watched as she picked up her drink and took a slow sip before looking away quickly. "So . . . what exactly are you reading about in your Cosmo magazine?" he asked. He liked the sound of her voice and she'd been less than forthcoming in letting him hear it.

Caitlin looked up at him and took another sip of her drink before answering. Alex zeroed in on her lips again, enjoying the way she licked them lightly after taking the sip. "Kinky sex moves men love," she told him.

"What?" he asked, looking up to meet her eyes his surprise clear. It wasn't what he had expected her to say.

"That's what I'm reading about," she told him.

"Kinky sex moves?" he asked. Caitlin nodded, a flirtatious smile playing on her lips. "Seriously? Here?" Caitlin just nodded again. "I don't believe it," he told her. "Read one to me."

"No," Caitlin said with a frown. "I'm not going to read sex tips to you . . . I don't even know you."

"Just one," he said. "To prove that's what you're really reading about . . . unless you're too shy."

Caitlin just looked at him for a moment then sighed. "If you insist." She paused for a moment and he nodded.

"I'm waiting . . . uh, I don't know your name," he said.

"Caitlin," she said. "My name is Caitlin."

She took a deep breath and looked down at the magazine again, her eyes trailing over the page before reading off a random paragraph of text, trying not to stumble over her words, or let her nerves show. After a moment, Caitlin looked up meeting his gaze, her cheeks flushed.

"That's . . . well, that sounds, uh, interesting . . ." he said. "We'll have to try that . . ."

"Will we?" She gave him a funny look and she didn't sound amused.

He looked up surprised. "That came out wrong," he said, flustered. "I didn't mean 'we' as in us . . . I meant I'll have to try that sometime with . . ."

"Your girlfriend?" Caitlin supplied.

Alex shook his head. "No, not at the moment." He looked up meeting her gaze once again.

Caitlin looked away and happened to glance at her watch. "Oh, wow!" she exclaimed closing the magazine quickly. "I've got to go. I didn't realize so much time had passed." She stood up quickly.

"Wait," he said grabbing for her wrist. "Thank you for letting me sit here."

"No problem," she told him. "It was nice talking to you."

"Here," he said scribbling his telephone number on a napkin. "If you ever . . . want to have dinner . . . or whatever . . ." He pressed the napkin into her hand.

"Oh, well . . . thank you," Caitlin said awkwardly. "I'll see you around . . . maybe." She gave a little wave as she walked away, acutely aware that Alex watched every step of her retreat.

"Shit," he muttered as he watched her walk out the door. "I never told her my name."

[ ][ ][ ][ ]

Caitlin glanced at her watch once again and sighed. She tried not to show her irritation, but she was starting to get impatient. She realized that doctors were busy and usually ran behind, but forty-five minutes of sitting in the waiting room without any acknowledgement was getting to her. If Brianna had not referred her to Dr. Smithton, she wasn't sure she'd have waited this long, especially since she only needed her routine yearly checkup.

The door to the office opened and the nurse appeared to call back another woman. Caitlin looked up expectantly, hoping to hear her name.

"Anna Beth," the nurse called. Caitlin turned back to her phone. It buzzed with an incoming call from Brianna.

Jenna had finished putting the most recent patient into an exam room and returned to the front desk. Lucie was working the desk.

"I feel so bad," Jenna said to Lucie.

"Why," Lucie asked not really interested. The office was especially busy this Thursday and she didn't have time to worry about Jenna's problems.

"There's a new patient out in the waiting room and she's been waiting for over an hour," Jenna told her. "She looks up every time the door opens and I know she's just cursing me every time I don't call her name."

Lucie smiled. "Why feel bad, Jen?" she asked. "You can't help that Adam's way behind today."

"I know, but she shouldn't have to wait this long. It makes the office look bad. And she's being really sweet about it. She hasn't given me a dirty look or anything."

"Then why do you feel so bad? I'm sure she expected a wait."

"I guess so, but I just wish we could bump her up in the line. There are still three patients in front of her and they all got added to the schedule this morning."

"I wouldn't worry about it, Jen. You can't just put her in front of the other patients."

"I know . . .," Jenna said slowly. "You know, Alex is here. I know he doesn't see patients today, but I could ask if he'd see her. She's a new patient so it's not like she'd be switching doctors or anything like that. I bet he'd do it."

Lucie just shrugged. "I'd run that by Donna first. I'm not sure she'd like you just messing with the doctor's schedules like that. Plus she'd have to run it by Adam, I'm sure."

Jenna nodded. "I'll go talk to Donna. Thanks." She made her way to Donna's office and laid out the situation for her. Donna agreed that if Alex was willing to see the new patient that it would be fine to do as Jenna suggested. She agreed that it made the office look bad when a patient's first impression was a staggeringly long wait.

Jenna made her way to Alex's office. The door was ajar and she could see him at his desk bent over a chart. He had his ear buds in so he didn't hear her approach the office and his head was bobbing in time with the music. She knocked a few times without a response and then approached his desk. She stood there a few moments before he noticed she was there and when he did he jumped in surprise.

"Oh, Jenna, sorry I didn't see you," he said, grinning slightly. "You weren't standing there long, were you?"

"No, and sorry I startled you. I just had a question for you."

"What's up?" he asked. He and Jenna were pretty good friends. They'd gone to high school together and the first four years of college. They'd parted ways when Alexander went on to medical school and Jenna opted for nursing school, but had kept in touch.

"Well, Adam has a new patient in the waiting room. She was scheduled for 9:30," Jenna started to tell him.

Alex looked at the clock on his desk. It read 10:45. "She's not even been in a room yet?" he asked, frowning. "Is he that far behind today?"

"Yes, he was overbooked today due to being out the last week and then he got to the office about thirty minutes late due to a delivery. Anyway, I thought that maybe you could see her instead. I know you don't usually see patients on Thursdays, but she's been waiting for so long and there are still a few patients in front of her and it'll be at least twenty minutes before she even gets into a room much less seen. She hasn't complained, is being exceptionally patient, and is only here for her yearly exam. I just thought I'd ask."

"Well, yeah, that's fine. I don't mind seeing her. I would ask her first, though. She did schedule the appointment with Adam. If she doesn't mind the switch then I'll see her."

"Thank you. I'll let you know once I've talked to her."

Alex just nodded and returned to the chart. Once Jenna was gone he ran his hands through his hair and straightened his shirt, glad he'd actually dressed decently and had not just worn jeans as he usually did on Thursdays.

"So, how'd the appointment go? I only ask because I referred you to Dr. Smithton," Brianna said, hoping Caitlin liked the doctor. "You don't have to tell me any specifics. I really was just curious as to how you liked the doctor."

"I haven't had a chance to form an opinion yet, Brie," Caitlin told her. "I haven't seen the doctor yet."

"Really?" Brianna asked with surprise. "I expected you'd be done and out by now. I've never had to wait too long."

"He seems to be a bit behind today," Caitlin told her. "I won't hold it against him."

"He must have had a delivery or surgery that kept him from getting to the office on time. I'm really sorry Caitie."

"Don't be sorry," Caitlin told her. "It's not a big deal. I totally understand. It'd just be nice if someone would tell us that's what's going on. He has a room full of people waiting to see him."

"Well, from personal experience, they don't really like to share that information unless a patient specifically asks for a reason for the wait. But waits like you're experiencing can happen quite often at an OB's office, especially for an obstetrician like Dr. Smithton. It won't be like this every time."

"I know . . ." Caitlin started to say. The door to the office opened again and she looked up once again. An hour had now passed since her scheduled appointment time and she'd been ten minutes early.

"Caitlin," the nurse called.

"I've got to go," Caitlin said quickly into the phone, standing up. "We're meeting for lunch, right? The usual place?"

"Yep, see you then," Brianna said.

Caitlin walked quickly towards the office door and followed the nurse. The door closed behind her and the nurse stopped at the front desk.

"First, I want to apologize for your wait. There is usually not such a long wait to see the doctor," Jenna said.

"Please, don't apologize," Caitlin told her. "I really don't mind waiting."

"No, this is really unacceptable. You've been waiting for over an hour which is really too long and is not a usual occurrence for this office. There are still a few patients in front of you; however, if you'd be willing to see Dr. Mullen we can get you in right now. He doesn't usually see patients on Thursdays, but he's here catching up on paperwork and I explained the situation to him. I know you scheduled the appointment with Dr. Smithton, but I feel so bad about the wait you've been subjected to."

"If this other doctor doesn't see patients today, why would you even offer this alternative?" Caitlin asked. At this point she didn't care which doctor she saw, but she didn't want the office to make any concessions just for her. There was a room full of patients out there waiting to see the doctor and she didn't deserve special treatment.

"Because you've been so patient," Jenna told her. "You've been out there for so long and you've not complained once or given me or the other nurse dirty looks and I just feel bad. Your first impression of the office shouldn't be a long wait."

"You're sure the other doctor doesn't mind seeing me?" Caitlin asked. "I mean, I don't expect you to rearrange his schedule just because I've been waiting awhile. If anything, I can just reschedule."

"No, he doesn't mind," Jenna said. "He'd be happy to see you. It's really up to you. If you'd like to continue waiting for Dr. Smithton or reschedule, that's fine, too. But Dr. Mullen really would not have any problem seeing you."

"Well, if you're sure he doesn't mind, I don't mind. I can be seen now?"

"Yes," Jenna told her. "Gina will take you back to get your weight and other vital signs and I'll let the doctor know you'll be back in a few minutes. You'll meet in his office first before he does the exam."

"Sounds good," Caitlin said. "Thank you. I appreciate it."

"No problem," Jenna told her. "Gina will take care of you now."